Drones are arguably one of the coolest, funkiest, trendiest (whatever the cool kids say) tech gadgets you can own in 2017, but do you trust them enough to buy one?
I’ve been spending a fair bit of time flying drones lately and, I have to admit, there’s a lot of fun to be had – from lifting the drone into the air and moving it around, to taking some sweeping shots of the great British countryside.
However, they’re also prone to bad press. Reports of near-misses with airplanes are enough to make you shudder. Plus, some people have understandable concerns about their privacy when they see a drone in the air – especially considering many are fitted with cameras.
But I don’t think this needs to be a reason not to buy one, or to not get excited about the technology. If drone pilots use their drones safely and responsibly I don’t think they can really cause any harm.
To help people do this, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has published a drone code, with the key principles for safe flight.
These include some things that I think should be obvious, such as staying away from airports and airfields, and following the manufacturer instructions. But it also has some more specific details to help you stay within the confines of the law – such as keeping 50 metres away from people and property.
We explore these regulations – as well as considerations around privacy, what to do if you see someone using a drone incorrectly, and more in our guide on how to fly a drone safely.
The government has recently announced its plans to bring in drone registration, and a safety-awareness test for everyone who wants to fly one.
The hope is that these measures will encourage responsible flight, and improve accountability when someone uses their drone incorrectly.
The government is also looking into how best to embed electronic identification and tracking within the registration scheme so that drones can be identified when they’re in the air. This will also verify the pilots on the ground.
Drones do have some pretty cool safety features that can help them (and you) stay out of trouble. There’s something called ‘return to home’ that means the drone will immediately find its way back to you if it gets lost, loses signal with a controller, or runs out of battery.
Some drones also have geofencing technology. This GPS-based technology is built into drones, and is designed to stop them from flying in prohibited zones.
Some drones are really easy to control and fly, which gave me confidence when I piloted them. Some, on the other hand, made me feel nothing short of nervous. If you want to know which drones aced our flight tests, take good photos and have decent battery life, check out our Best Buy drones.
Would you ever consider buying a drone? Do you think the current and proposed regulations go far enough, or would you prefer stricter rules?